En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Friday - January 07, 2011

From: Kissimmee, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Eradicating Campsis radicans in Kissimee FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am interested in information on eradicating or controlling 'cow itch' [campsis radicans?] which is spreading on an empty lot of land adjacent to an occupied dwelling. It is causing significant discomfort to the neighbor and my attempts at cutting it and treating it with herbicide are not effective. HELP!! Thank you.

ANSWER:

You probably already know what we are going to tell you-that you have a tough job ahead of you eradicating, or at least discouraging, the growth of Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper). In case you are not already sufficiently motivated to solve this problem, you might read some of the negative comments on the vine from this Dave's Garden forum website on the problems it presents.

You have apparently already been doing the first thing we would suggest, which is cutting it down, and hauling it off. You do not want to allow the plant to go to seed, which it will begin to do shortly after it begins to bloom. That, at least, will keep fresh new plants from coming up, except, of course, for the ones birds bring in. Sorry.

Next, get a full spectrum herbicide and some disposable sponge brushes. With good sharp clippers, cut off the vines close to the soil and immediately paint the cut edge with the herbicide. Doing it within 5 minutes of cutting will prevent the vine from healing over the cut to protect the roots in the ground. Finally, arrange to have the area mowed very close on a regular basis. The roots of those plants you have cut down are still going to be fighting to survive. They will put up shoots everywhere which, if you have cut away all the vines above ground, will provide the roots with new leaves to nourish the roots that remain. And, of course, those little baby vines will grow up to be big vines if left alone.

This is a tedious process, and the moral is: If it's an invasive, the best way to get rid of it is to not plant it.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Campsis radicans


Campsis radicans


Campsis radicans


Campsis radicans

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Control of Paulownia tomentosa from Westminster MD
October 28, 2011 - I have heard that there is a type of herbicide that is to be applied to slashes made in the outer layer of invasive trees such as Paulownia. This type of application is reputed to prevent the little ...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants from New Braunfels TX
August 31, 2012 - I have a 1/2 yard covered by a tree, shady. Bermuda grass previous owner planted has all turned brown this summer. I don't have lots of money to work with but would love to landscape that side of fr...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping a new yard in El Paso, TX
July 01, 2010 - I am starting my back yard, we want to plant some sod grass and shade trees. We were doing some research and came across the Paulownia and the Royal Empress tree. I like them since they grow very fast...
view the full question and answer

How to get rid of Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
July 28, 2008 - We have an enormous stand of japanese polygonum that we are trying to get rid of. What soil type is the most inhospitable to this aggressive and highly invasive species? Were thinking of planting so...
view the full question and answer

Identification of yellow flowers in Wisconsin
June 19, 2012 - We have plants near Madison, Wisconsin that some call lanceleaf coreoposis however I believe they are some type of invasive species. They have yellow flowers, seem to spread by seed. and don't grown ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center